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Her Touch(3)

By:Alexa Riley

“Are you going to tell him what happened?” I twist my hands in my lap, feeling nervous.

Eli leans against the door his eyes still on me. He looks relaxed. Not like he just punched someone in the face. His black shirt is stretched tight against his chest, the word Marines in red on the front. He’s wearing jeans that are tight on his thighs, and they lead down to black boots. He might look casual, but I have a feeling he’s anything but.

“You don’t want me to?” He pushes off the door and walks to the other side of the breakfast bar.

I shake my head. “He’ll worry, and I’m not supposed to be dating anyway.”

No dating until I’m seventeen is Dad’s rule. And to make matters worse, Nick is eighteen. A senior. Dad would probably lose it, but I was just trying to make friends. I thought it would be easier, but I have a feeling when I go back to school tomorrow things are going to be hell.

“How old was he?”


“A little old for you, don’t you think?” He looks down at me, and my cheeks warm again. “Just tell me you’ll stay away from him. Stay away from boys in general and your secret is safe with me.”

“Okay,” I say quickly, seeing that maybe we can keep this between us.

“Promise me,” Eli says, and crosses his arms. The stern look he’s giving me reminds me so much of my dad and leaves no room for negotiation.

“I promise.” I have no problems staying away from Nick, or from any other boys. After that experience, there is not one feeling I had before and during that kiss that I want to relive.

Chapter 2


“You sleep okay, son?”

“Yes, sir,” I say, answering Major Drummond while I hide the pride I feel when he calls me son.

“You can call me Red when we’re at home,” he says, and gives me a kind smile. “Or Major, if you can’t shake the title. Hell, that’s what Maggie calls me most of the time anyway.”

He shrugs as he talks about his daughter, but I can see the soft look in his eyes. He grabs the pot of coffee off the counter and fills my mug up before his own, then takes a seat beside me.

“You’ve got your PT scheduled?”

“Yes, Major. I go in at oh-eight-hundred.”

I’ve come to live with Major and his daughter because I was wounded in combat and need extensive physical therapy for the next year. He knew my history and was there for me when it happened. If he hadn’t, I’m not sure where I might have ended up after being discharged from the Marines.

I was brought up in the system, bouncing around from foster home to foster home my entire life. I was one of those kids who was given up as a baby but never adopted. My life was always in transition. I never stayed in one home for more than six months, and I got into all kinds of shit. When I was fourteen I was sent to juvenile detention because I kept getting into fights at school. I spent a year there before I got out and was popped for trying to steal a car. After that the judge gave me a choice of going back to juvie until I was eighteen or going into a military school. The idea of getting out of the foster system and being in a stable place for at least three years was like hitting the lottery. I knew what being in jail was like, and I didn’t want to go back to it. I didn’t give a fuck if I had to scrub a toilet with a toothbrush. Having a steady bed and not being behind bars until I was eighteen sounded like heaven. I jumped at the chance and was sent to a military academy in South Carolina.

It turned out that a military school was exactly what I needed. It was absolute hell for the majority of the time, but I applied myself to the work, and to my surprise did really well at it. I excelled in all of my classes and even graduated early with honors. After that I enrolled in the Citadel and went to a military college, and I graduated a year early there, too. I was at the top of my class and was thinking of my next move when Major Drummond came to visit me to talk about my future.

I’d known that going into the military was the next logical step, but my high scores kept my options open. The Major was different than everyone I’d met with before. Right away I felt like we had a connection and he saw something in me that reminded him of himself. I trusted him, and he helped me see that my abilities could be used for something special.

I was twenty-one when I graduated and was commissioned. Then I spent a year training before I was deployed on missions. Secret ones I could only talk to the Major about. He was my contact for the small unit I led. We went all over the world, running ops for the United States government. I was four years in when the shit hit the fan.

On my last mission we received bad intel and it nearly killed my men. I was injured, but some of them were worse than me. We were all given honorable discharges, but I knew the road to recovery was going to be hard. When we made it back stateside, families were there to welcome everyone home. Everyone except me. I’d started to feel sorry for myself all over again, but then the Major had shown up and told me everything was going to be okay.